‘Boss’ – ‘Swallow’: Old gray mayor

A quick review of tonight’s “Boss” coming up just as soon as I compare myself to Hitchcock…

“Swallow” was the last of the three episodes of this show I watched before it premiered (I still have episode 4 on a DVD and will get to it soon), and when Tom was busy regaling the two hookers with horse stories, I made the following note: “This show is very interesting when it’s not trying to be impressive.” 

To elaborate on that, I think there’s a lot of meat here: Tom’s position and condition, and the performance by Kelsey Grammer; the gubernatorial campaign and the slow peeling of the kinky onion that is Ben Zajac; Sam Miller’s investigation into whatever is going on with both the mayor and the O’Hare dig; the chilly condition of the Kane marriage; etc. In terms of pure story, the only one that I don’t think is working at all is the stuff with Tom’s daughter Emma, and even that might be interesting with a stronger actress. 

Where “Boss” runs into trouble is when it starts trying to serve you all that tasty meat with an overly elaborate presentation: with the monologues and eyeball close-ups and soft-core sex fantasy(*) scenes. Sometimes, all those pieces complement each other, as with Tom’s brief aphasia during the meeting with Mac Cullen, and the way he then overcompensated by getting so ugly and vicious with Mac that no one would even remember that he was going on about breads and circuses. Other times, though, it has the whiff of desperation, like it’s not enough for “Boss” to be recognized as good if it’s not also acknowledged to be Important.

(*) And I do wonder how much of Kane’s sex life is meant to be real and how much of it is a Lewy Body hallucination. Would his father-in-law’s nurse really act out a Penthouse Forum story for him like that? 

Still enjoying the hell out of Grammer and a lot of the rest, but I’m hoping the remaining five episodes of this brief first season will learn to trust the material a little more.

What did everybody else think?